There are some cereals you’d never expect to have a cult following. Honeycomb and Alpha-Bits are good examples. They’re classics sure, but unlike Cinnamon Toast Crunch’s sect of cinnamon sugar swirlers or Cap’n Crunch’s church of masochistic roof-of-mouth manglers, you never really hear people say Honeycomb or Alpha-Bits are their favorite cereals.
Sorry, Bertha from North Dakota. I swear I just make dumb cereal jokes, not actual cereal.
Honeycomb rants aside, another cereal with a shockingly devoted fandom is Quaker’s Corn Bran Crunch. As one of those closet Corn Bran Crunch geeks, I wrote up a glowing tribute review to the stuff a while back, and the article’s popularity revealed that many share my niche passion for fibrous corn cuboids.
As comments kept rolling in, my fellow quirky Quaker-ers kept me posted on a developing narrative for our beloved Corn Bran Crunch. Tragically, the stuff disappeared for a while, and inquiring fans were told that a production error had put Corn Bran Crunch had put the cereal on hiatus.
But then it returned, and after the initial glorious hysteria wore off, something was very clearly different. The Bran had ran away somewhere down the line, leaving behind Corn Crunch, which, despite its alliterative name, allegedly tasted far different.
It took me a while to track down this corny changeling, but now that I have a box in hand and a vivid memory of the late Corn Bran Crunch’s flavor imprinted in my mind, it’s time to see if CC needs 50ccs of bran (STAT!), or if it’s still the golden delight I remember.
Corn Crunch cereal certainly looks similar to its spiritual predecessor, if perhaps a little lighter in color. But the first obvious difference is textural, and it’s a big one.
See, Corn Crunch is crunchy. Really. Really. Crunchy. It has all the corrugated sharpness of Crunchberries, with the decibel-cranking density of a toasted bran flake sandwich—minus the bran, of course. Gone is the pleasantly fine chew of Corn Bran Crunch. So eager eaters be weary: with this cereal, haste will lay waste to your taste buds.
While this microphoned munch may be divisive, the good news is that Corn Crunch tastes pretty darn close to Corn Bran Crunch. Yes, there is a difference: CBC had a palpable golden syrup glaze that brought coconut oil richness and light honey sweetness to the cereal. And the more earthy and savory undertones from the bran are washed out, too.
Instead, all the corn and oat flavor of C^2 is baked into the hollow squares, themselves. They’re not quite as potently flavored (though the original was pretty mild compared to, say, the Cap’n), but Corn Crunch squares are, nevertheless, still a good choice for a wholesome cereal that packs golden sweet corn flavor with an extra kicker of lightly buttered home-baked cornbread goodness.
And with a crunch like Corn Crunch’s, milk is all but imperative for avoiding the rising costs of tongue splints. Milk softens the pointy pillows’ harsh edges, while also introducing a much-needed dash of creaminess to counter the otherwise domineering dry maize overtones. Again, it reminds me enough of moist cornbread that I get a subconscious itch to start boiling beans.
So even though OG CBC was definitely a better cereal, Corn Crunch is still the best grown-up and hearty version of Cap’n Crunch you’ll find, at least without reanimating an expired box of Kashi Honey Sunshine (rest in peace, old friend). Unfortunately, I can’t think of any other cereals where you can experience the unique, somehow pleasantly mealy flavor of corn bran any more, so I hope someone revives the trend.
Because until then, I’ll just be mashing popcorn into my Raisin Bran.
The Bowl: Quaker Corn Crunch Cereal
The Breakdown: What first sounded like a grand conspiracy turned out to be just a crunchy one. Lacking the savory syrupiness of its long-lost, bran-bolstered brother, Corn Crunch is a hollower, but still memorably wholesome way to get in a Cap’n Crunch kind of mood without shame.
The Bottom Line: 7.5 North Dakotan vendettas out of 10
(Quick Nutrition Facts: 130 calories, 5 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein per 1 cup serving)